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Flathead Photographs and Information

There are more than 40 species of Flathead found in Australia. Most of these are found from southern QLD, south around the southern half of Australia to South West Western Australia.

The dusky is the largest member of the family Platycephalidae, which contains more than 30 species, at least 14 of which are taken by anglers from time to time. Most of the more common flathead may be separated and identified by carefully examining the colouration and markings on the tail or caudal fin. The dusky flathead or dusky is also known as the estuary flathead and mud flathead, while it and other members of this extensive family are also commonly referred to as "flatties", "frogs", "lizards", "croc's" and "Yanks".

Flathead are characterised by their flattened bodies (less flattened in the tiger flathead), broad, spade-like heads, large mouths and fine teeth. Sets of sharp spines covered in mildly venomous mucus are located on the gill covers. The flathead's camouflaged colouration is extremely variable, ranging from very light sandy white or fawn with darker bars and blue, red and black spots or "stars" to brick red or almost jet black. The flathead's belly is almost always creamy, creamy-yellow or white.

Flathead are found in shallow estuaries and lakes and inhabit streams as far upstream as the tidal limits, but they often are found in freshwater. They are also found offshore on sandy or gravel bottoms and seagrass beds. Their range is from intertidal areas to depths of 10 metres. Sand Flathead have been found at depths of up to 100 metres.

Mixed Reef Fish, Coral Trout, Snapper, Red Snapper, Grouper, Whiting, Trevally


Map showing areas in Australian Waters where flathead are found.


Scientific Name Platycephalus fuscus
Location Australia Wide
Season All year round
Size Average 30cm - 60cm
Australian Species Code 37 296004
Taste, Texture Mild flavour, tender to firm and flakes easily.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Flathead fillet.

Kilojoules 380 (90 calories)
Protein 20.1 g
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium -
Total fat (oil) 0.6 g
Saturated fat 32% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 20% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 48% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 26 mg
Omega-3, DHA 164 mg
Omega-6, AA 16 mg

Flathead - chilled on ice - face view

Angling for Flathead:

Flathead may be fished for in a variety of ways. Many are taken on bottom-fished or drifted baits of small, live or dead "poddy" mullet or herring, pilchards, whitebait, sprats, anchovy and strips of mullet, tailor, yellowtail, tuna or garfish, as well as yabbies, nippers, marine worms, shellfish and prawns. When using dead baits, results are often improved by retrieving the bait slowly over the seabed, or by using the tide and current to keep the boat or rig moving. Flathead are also a recognised lure and fly fishing target. They respond particularly well to small and medium sized metal spoons, rubber-tailed jigs, floating/diving or sinking minnows, plugs and streamer flies. These should be presented close to the bottom for best results.


Cooking Flathead:

The colour of raw Flathead fillet is white. When cooked, the flesh is tender to firm and flakes easily. They have a low fat content and has a distinct, mild flavour. Flathead are highly rated table fish with firm, white and flaky flesh which tends towards dryness in larger fish. They are best suited to recipes which help to maintain moisture content in the flesh while cooking. Flatheads are superb table fishes, with finely textured flesh. The use of a sauce or marinade will overcome the slightly dry texture sometimes evident in these fishes after cooking.

Commercial Fishing for Flathead:

Flathead are wild caught. Commercial fishing for Flathead is an important fishery in NSW with most capture being in late Autumn to early spring, and are mainly caught using gill nets and tunnel nets. Lakes Entrance in Victoria has the largest Danish Seine fishery in Australia with Flathead and School whiting being the main species targeted and caught. Buyers and sellers of flathead fish are listed.


Top view of flathead fish

Photo of Bartailed flathead fish
Bartailed Flathead
Photo of northern sand flathead fish, australian flathead fish
Northern Sand Flathead
photo of dusky flathead fish, australian dusky flathead
Dusky Flathead
photo of yellow tailed flathead fish, australian yellowtailed flathead
Yellowtailed Flathead





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